London Irish v Edinburgh: visitors make quartet of changes for Challenge Cup clash

Boan Venter and Matt Currie are among the additions to Mike Blair's team for the pool match in Brentford

Boan Venter
Boan Venter will get the chance to start in the front row for Edinburgh against London Irish after impressing off the bench in recent weeks. Image: © Craig Watson.

MIKE BLAIR has made four changes to his Edinburgh team for tomorrow’s Challenge Cup at London Irish – three upfront and one in the back division.

Matt Currie is the sole newcomer behind the scrum, taking over at outside centre from Mark Bennett. Boan Venter gets a start at loosehead instead of Pierre Schoeman, Adam McBurney starts at hooker as both Stuart McInally and Dave Cherry are on the injured list, and Nick Haining is at blindside in a reshuffled back row from which Hamish Watson drops out. 

Patrick Harrison is back-up hooker and Connor Boyle is also among the forwards replacements. The three backs on the bench are the same as last week: scrum-half Charlie Shiel, stand-off Jaco van der Walt and centre Chris Dean.

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While Bennett was on outstanding form in last week’s league win over Cardiff, Blair believes it is important to reward players such as Currie who have been working well in training. “Selection has been one of the hardest parts of the job so far, because guys are training well and putting their hands up, but guys are performing on the pitch as well,” the head coach said. “We’ve spent a lot of time selecting this side and we believe we’ve got a team that can go out there and challenge London Irish. 

“We were really pleased with the performance against Cardiff. We left a couple of opportunities out there, but we really enjoyed the intent and the physicality – both important parts of our game – and we’ve just been building on them in training to bring into this weekend’s game. 

“I love the way London Irish play. They move the ball around a lot, are really innovative with what they’re trying to do, with their set plays and scrum plays – I think it’ll be an excellent game.”

Eight players are listed as unavailable: Cherry, McInally, Luan de Bruin, Darcy Graham, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Bill Mata and Ben Toolis.

Edinburgh (v London Irish at Brentford Community Stadium, Saturday @ 3.15pm): H Immelman; E Boffelli, M Currie, J Lang, R Moyano; B Kinghorn, B Vellacott; B Venter, A McBurney, W Nel, J Hodgson, G Gilchrist (captain), N Haining, J Ritchie, M Bradbury. Substitutes: P Harrison, P Schoeman, L Atalifo, M Sykes, C Boyle, C Shiel, J van der Walt, C Dean.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1393 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


    • You can watch it on the epcr website for €4.99, a bit annoying as I’m pretty sure they were free last season or the one before. I did it for the saracens match and it was a decent enough quality stream, don’t get any/much of a build up n the commentary took about 5min to kick in but better than trying to find a dodgy stream on some other site(n I’m usually pretty savvy at finding one that works although ya have to put up with pop ups n it cutting oot randomly that way) . I’ve rarely seen a match live streamed on a YouTube channel for a few years now.

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